Cross-channel inventory management now retail’s top challenge

A survey of retailers by Retail Systems Research (RSR) has found that the proper implementation of inventory and order management has now eclipsed data management as the biggest single challenge facing retailers.

The study, ‘Omni-Channel Retail 2014: Double Trouble’, was backed by SAP-owned ecommerce vendor Hybris, and contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities and organisational constraints surrounding retailers’ omni-channel strategies.

Results showed that while 93% of retailers rated system-wide inventory visibility as the most significant capability in executing their omni-channel fulfilment strategy, currently just 45% can enable this. Additionally, only 39% are making this happen via system synchronisation across all channels.

The ‘Omni-Channel Retail 2014: Double Trouble’ research yielded three key findings:

  1. Retail ‘winners’ design the digital experience with the dual objective of transacting more sales in the digital space and driving more sales in the physical store,
  2. omni-channel fulfilment has become a top priority for retailers; 53% want to allow customers to purchase, take delivery or return a product through the channel of their choice, and
  3. fulfilment agility requires modifications to operational systems and processes to efficiently support anytime/anywhere consumer shopping expectations.


Additional research findings are presented in this infographic, provided by Hybris:



Stated methodology: The RSR report, sponsored by hybris, sets out to analyse the challenges retailers face delivering an always-on, omni-channel customer experience and what differentiates retail ‘winners’ from retail ‘laggards’. An online survey was conducted between April-July 2014 and received answers from 83 qualified retail respondents. Respondents included executive/senior managers (C-Level or VP) and middle managers (VP/Director/Manager), representing retail organizations with revenues ranging from in excess of $5 billion to less than $50 million and with a retail presence in North America (USA and Canada), Latin America, as well as the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia/Pacific. 


Photo credit: thisisbossi via Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Peter Roper
BY Peter Roper ON 10 December 2014
Editor of Marketing Magazine and